Monsanto threatens the sue the entire state of Vermont
Lawmakers in Vermont are looking to regulate food labels so customers can know which products are made from genetically modified crops, but agricultural giants Monsanto say they will sue if the state follows through.
If the bill in question, H-722 (the “VT Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act”) passes the state Senate and House, manufacturers will be required to label products that are created either partially or in full from a genetically modified organism, or GMO. Such man-made crops have become a trademark of the billion-dollar Monsanto corporation, and in the past the company has gone to great lengths to keep themselves the number-one name in American agriculture, even if those profits are made possible from playing God.
Monsanto is going mad over the proposal, however, which would also make them unable to label their productions as “natural,” “naturally made,” “naturally grown” or “all natural,” if, in fact, they are not. For the corporation, it would seem that moving products and making money is much more of a worthwhile venture than telling its customers what exactly they are consuming.
With Vermont legislators now standing in the way of what could mean even more money for Monsanto, the company says they will sue the state if H-722 is approved. Now in fear of a lawsuit in the future, lawmakers in Vermont have put a hold on any future voting regarding the bill. If history is any indication, Monsanto is more than likely to have their way and win yet another battle.
Monsanto is no stranger to the American legal system and have forced competing farm after farm to be shut down or bought out by bringing lawsuits against the little guy throughout their history. Between 1997 and 2010, Monsanto’s legal team tried to file nearly 150 lawsuits against independent farmers, often for allegations that their patented GMO-seeds had someone managed to be carried onto unlicensed farms. Often those farms have been unable to fight against Monsanto’s mega-lawyers and have been forced to fold in response. The Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association tried taking Monsanto to court earlier this year to keep them from following similar suits, but a Federal District Court judge in Manhattan shut down their plea. The group has since filed an appeal.
Regardless of if the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association’s appeal will be granted, Monsanto is making waves in Vermont where they hope to continue creating GMO products and pushing them to consumers without warning. Between state lawmakers putting their vote on hold and past precedents, Monsanto looks more than likely to win their latest battle, though. Back in 1994, Vermont tried to keep dairy corporations from marketing milk made from cows injected with the Bovine Growth Hormone, citing incidents where the rBGH had been tied to cases of cancer. Monsanto was victorious inthat battle and numerous others in the years since.
300k farmers hope for lawsuit against Monsanto
Published: 15 February, 2012, 00:47
Around 300,000 organic farmers think that Monsanto, the biotech giant known for genetically modifying Mother Nature’s handwork for profit and pushing over the little guys all the while, is pretty seedy.
Now a judge in New York is debating if Monsanto’s questionable methods will go before a jury.
Judge Naomi Buchwald of the Southern District Court of New York says she will have a decision on March 31 in regards to whether a lawsuit waged against the mega-corporation Monsanto should make it to trial.
Last year, 270,000 organic farmers from around 60 family farms tried to take Monsanto to court over issues pertaining to a genetically-modified seed masterminded by the corporation. Not only were the smaller farms concerned over how the manufactured seeds had been carried by wind and creature alike onto their own plantations, but the biggest problem perhaps was that Monsanto was filing lawsuits themselves against farmers. Monsanto went after hundreds of farmers for infringing on their patented seed after audits revealed that their farms had contained their product — as a result of routine pollination by animals and acts of nature. Unable to afford a proper defense, competing small farms have been bought out by the company in droves. As a result, Monsanto saw their profits increase by the hundreds of millions over the last few years as a result. Between 1997 and 2010, Monsanto tackled 144 organic farms with lawsuits and investigated roughly 500 plantations annually during that span with a so-called “seed police.”
Farmers have been concerned that unless Monsanto is stopped, their reign over the world’s agriculture will surpass anything imaginable. They are seeking pre-emptive protection from those questionable lawsuits and next month Judge Buchwald will weigh in on if the matter should go to trial. Her honor recently listened to oral arguments on Monsanto’s Motion to Dismiss, which the corporation hopes to win to cease the charges being brought by a total of 83 plaintiffs representing now over 300,000 organic farm-affiliated businesses. The legal team for the small-time farmers also offered their arguments.
“Monsanto's threats and abuse of family farmers stops here,” says Jim Gerritsen, president of the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association. “Monsanto's genetic contamination of organic seed and organic crops ends now. Americans have the right to choice in the marketplace — to decide what kind of food they will feed their families — and we are taking this action on their behalf to protect that right to choose.”
Elizabeth Archerd, the director of a Minneapolis food co-op, adds in support of the farmers to the New York Times, “Pollen and DNA do not play by the USDA’s rules.” Although hundreds of thousands of farmers feel the same way, it’ll take a judge to decide the next step in the case. From there though, things could get dirty. Michael Taylor, a former attorney for the US Department of Agriculture and lobbyist for Monsanto was recently appointed to a federal role as the deputy commissioner for foods at the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Since then, the FDA has refused requests to label genetically modified products as such despite demands from consumer protection groups.